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Q&A

Posts tagged punctuation

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Q&A Punctuation assistance with complicated list of titles during a formal greeting

I'm working on a scene in a high-fantasy setting where the main characters greet each other for the first time. Part of the greeting is also a definition of what each of the characters mean to each...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by PeteMcRepeat‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

Question style punctuation
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Q&A Ending a line of dialogue with "?!": Allowed or obnoxious?

A dialogue of mine contains the following sentence: "You fired all three of them?!" Trouble is, I'm not sure I've ever seen a novel that used a question mark and an exclamation point together...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Evil Sparrow‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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Q&A Correct punctuation for showing a character's confusion

I'm trying to show that the narration (third person limited) is being interrupted by the character's thought process, and I'm not sure what punctuation is best for this situation. So far, I've tri...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Evil Sparrow‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Elongated vowel sounds

When we speak sometimes we draw out certain sounds for emphasis. We also see this technique in song, for both emphasis as well as expanding the meter to make the words fit a certain rhythm. One w...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by AGirlHasNoName‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Proofreading a novel: is it okay to use a question mark with an exclamation mark - "?!"

Is it ever acceptable to use an exclamation mark following a question mark? I am proofreading a novel and have been instructed to make no stylistic changes, only errors that impede sense/clarity. ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user753711‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A What are the rules for punctuating a conversation?

Are there hard and fast rules for characters speaking to each other? As far as quotations, or without them? Are they hinged inside a paragraph or ruled to only be in a talking string?

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by M.E. Rollins‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Can you use a semicolon to connect fragments that are one item in a vertical list?

I'm trying to write a numbered vertical list. The items are not complete sentences. Can you use a semicolon to connect two fragments that are one item? Receive guests; entertain guests Or, sho...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by happycrabapples‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A The difference between dialogue marks

Most authors use dialogue in writing, especially when writing fiction. Now, if I remember my first grade primary school correctly, dialogue can be directly separated from narration in a number of w...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Liquid‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Punctuating text messages with speaker tags in running copy

Punctuation (and spelling and capitalization) in text messages is different from punctuation in other forms of written communication (emails, memos, standard prose). In particular, punctuation, o...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Lauren Ipsum‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Confused about when to treat something as a dialogue tag

Background: I'm helping a friend edit their fiction. I'm frequently left confused on anything related to dialogue tags. “Yes, but I mean no,” Steve stumbles over his words. “Not the come hom...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by mh9‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A What is the correct way to use semicolons vs. commas vs. em dashes?

In Sabriel by Garth Nix, near the beginning of Chapter Two, there is the following sentence: Anything powerful enough to cross the Wall usually retained enough magic to assume the shape of a soldi...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by matt_rule‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question book punctuation
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Q&A Question mark in use with colon

Do you use a question mark in hand when you use a colon, if yes how? I Will Fix Any Error Or Bug is the title of the service. Should I place the order in: I Will Fix Any Error Or Bug Sho...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by nicoX‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Capitalization after use of colon?

This is a sentence from a current writing project detailing how people in jail feel about reading. It provides an escape from the reality of what lies before them: time. Should "time" be capitali...

3 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by WelderGuy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Which is the correct way to punctuate this dialogue with ellipses?

Below are four alternate dialogues that I am confused between. I'd like to know which is the correctly punctuated one. Also please explain how to use ellipses in a dialogue which is interrupted by ...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by vedant‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A "Quote" within a quote MLA

So I have a quote that has double quotation marks inside it. Would I leave those in? Or replace them with single quotes? In Carolyn Gregoire’s article “What Your 'Life Story' Really Says About...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Cullub‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How to show a brief hesitation around a word

When we speak, there are often small pauses between syntactic units such as sentences. In writing, these pauses are signified by punctuation: I can come if you want. (without pause) I can ...

3 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by System‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Punctuation issue quoting dialogue

I was editing a friend's story and I ran into a problem. A character wrote a letter to her friend but inside the letter there was a dialogue (quoting her parents) inserted. I tried to change their...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by ABDELTA‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Using capital letters and full-stop in bullet points

This question may be related with this question. I come to the direct point. I am confused with the usage of bullet points. Is is necessary to capitalize the first letter in each bullet point? Also...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by phenomenon‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Dialogue interruptions — using em dashes

This is my first time in writers, so I apologise if I make a mistake. I've searched for this, but I can't find a concrete and complete answer. Please forgive me if I've somehow missed it and it had...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Emmie‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A When dialog is italicized, should the quotation marks be italicized as well?

For example, in the following exchange, "Shut up!" she yelled. "I can't think when you ramble." (For context, it's for a novel or online story publication.) I want to emphasize the two words ...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by whiterook6‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Partial clauses after semi-colons

I recently read a novel with a section that went something like this: "I have often wished that I had born into a different family; that I had never studied art at college; that my voice weren't so...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by MoniqueH‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question style punctuation
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Q&A Dedication Punctuation - include a period?

For the dedication of my upcoming book, I have written For my child. Do you think that period should be there?

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by user2430018‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation
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Q&A Do you capitalize the names of governments in a story?

I know that names of countries, states, cities, and counties are always capitalized, but what about governments and organizations? In my novella there are basically 2 sections of space, and each ha...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Abram Frost‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Comma before names of people or titles

I am wondering whether it's necessary to use commas in the sentences below when addressing or introducing someone: “You look after each other, okay children?" “You look after each other, okay...

2 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by MoniqueH‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Why end sentences with commas instead of periods when the sentence is in a quote?

I've seen styles where writers end sentences with commas if it is inside double quotes and styles where writers end sentences with periods. For example: "She's late again." mumbled Jason. ...

3 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by RichS‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Capitalisation after punctuation in dialogue

I've seemed to have a problem with getting this right and doubting myself. In regards to writing dialogue, do you follow up with capitalisation after punctuation marks? Can someone tell me which is...

1 answer  ·  posted 6y ago by Colm Mulhern‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A The difference between two speech formats

I am conflicted about which one is appropriate for a story, or whether it makes a difference at all. A few years ago, god knows where, I've seen speech that was formatted like so: —Hello. - Tom...

2 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by D. Tunus‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Should you emphasise text within quotation marks?

e.g. Bold: Click "Setting" then click "Options". Italic: Click "Setting" then click "Options". Or even underline? Or none quotation marks? Click Setting then click Options. Wh...

2 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by XPMai‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How does one indicate uncertainty in a quote?

When quoting the spoken word, and if one particular word is difficult to distinguish, how does one properly indicate the uncertainty if that particular word has been quoted correctly? The followin...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by Filip Allberg‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Using colons and semi-colons in dialogue

I've often heard writers say they don't like using colons and semi-colons in dialogue specifically. I don't often see colons and semi-colons in dialogue, but sometimes it just seems like it's by fa...

2 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by MoniqueH‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A In what situation do you put a full-stop after an ellipsis?

In some style guides, I see this mention of putting a full-stop after an ellipsis when you are stopping the paused sentence and going onto another new sentence, but when reading several very well-k...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by MoniqueH‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question style punctuation
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Q&A Punctuation before / after em dash and speech mark

I originally posted this question on the main English forum, but someone suggested it might be better posted here. Apologies if I have broken any forum rules. As I home in on the end of my first n...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by John789‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Based on where I put a comma in a long sentence, can it confuse the readers from the way its supposed to be read?

One bad habit I have when writing sentences is that I make them too long and have to use commas. Problem: I get confused on where to put them to maintain the smooth structured balance of the senten...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by Gabby‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation
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Q&A How do I punctuate a statement that a character is ordered to say in a future scenario?

How do I punctuate a statement that a character is ordered to say in a future scenario? I don't want to use speech marks because its not a quote or a dialogue. My thinking may be wrong though. It...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by nicholas ainsworth‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation
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Q&A Multiple sentences in a parenthetical phrase - How do I punctuate properly?

I keep on running into this problem. I will have a parenthetical phrase (which is something set off by parentheses, rather like this, for those of you that do not know), but I need to include multi...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by Thomas Myron‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation grammar
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Q&A Which one is the correct dialogue punctuation format?

I am writing my first novel and this the very first confusion I would like to clarify. As I am not a native English speaker, I find it very hard to understand the punctuation scheme in direct speec...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by Lara‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Am I correctly punctuating this pause?

I want to convey the pause between the "then" and the rest of the sentence. But I'm not sure a comma is the correct punctuation to use. Then, when the smoke had cleared Jane Or is an ellipsis...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Liath‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation
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Q&A Punctuation in a list

Let's say I have a document with a list like this: aaaa bbbb cccc dddd Should I put nothing, a semicolon, a full stop or what at the end of each line? This is for an academic paper. We don't ...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by dragonmnl‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How to tell where to place a parenthetical em dash phrase?

Sometimes it's clear to me. But other times I get kind of confused. Example: After returning the materials back to their shelves, I turned—as were the others—the chair upside down on the tabl...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Should quotation marks for titles of short works be included as part of link text?

In a hypertext document, when the title of a short work (which is enclosed in quotation marks) is a link should the quotation marks be included as part of the link text? Do common style guides gene...

2 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Paul A. Clayton‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Commas at the beginning of a sentence: should I follow convention or intuition?

An example from my own writing (Mother and daughter are burying their deceased dog): As planned that Friday, Mom and I underwent Choco’s burial at my home in __ (yes, she kept him in a garbag...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Should I use ellipses or em dashes to denote pauses in speech?

I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A—gold tooth? I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A ... gold tooth? Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches....

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Alexandro Chen‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Spaces within abbreviations, acronyms, and initials

I have come across examples supporting both spaced as well as non-spaced examples and that's what confuses me. I want to understand what the standard practice is as endorsed by any of the major sty...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by TheLearner‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Use of punctuation within quotes with single words or letters

Consider the following sentence: Huego becomes fuego by discarding its "h" in favor of "f". Do not omit the trailing "s", which is key to the overall meaning here. Nueve comes from the Latin wor...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by TheLearner‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Hyphen or en-dash

What is the correct dash usage when naming a title? I have an essay with the title: The success factors for successful e-commerce - A Linux-based e-commerce platform from an economic perspecti...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by nicoX‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Is it acceptable to place a dash after a question mark?

Is it professionally acceptable to place a dash after a question mark in the following example? Bob: 'I don't like asking Matt but I need some help.' Peter: 'Why don't you go and ask him to help ...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by nicholas ainsworth‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

Question punctuation
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Q&A Capitalize and/or hyphenate "the Start Your Own Business project"?

I have come across a situation which drives me mad, and I cannot find any satisfying answer in the Oxford Guide to Style, which I tend to follow. The problem concerns the phrase "Start Your Own Bus...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by calvin‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A How do I search for tick marks not smart quotes in Word?

I'm doing a proofing check of a book prior to submitting to publication and want to make sure it's as neat as possible before doing so. Recently, I've had to merge two versions of the document - f...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Leon Conrad‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Indicating a word choice you're unsure of

I've often had situations where I'm unsure of the correct word to be used, either when writing or proofreading. How can this sense be indicated in writing? Someone mentioned adding a question mark ...

4 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by wzub‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Q&A Shouting in a question

How do I express shouting in a question? In a non-question sentence, I just put an exclamation mark at the end and/or use words like "shouted"/"yelled"/etc in the "said" tag and it feels fine. But...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Kornél Regius‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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